Panel: Backyard Bioweapons: Biolabs, Biodefense, Biotech and $Billions





will be one of the major themes at

Biodevastation 7: A Forum on Environmental Racism, World Agriculture and


May 16 – 18, 2003, St. Louis, Missouri,

After sabotaging a UN inspection system for biological weapons research

facilities, the Bush Administration is spending billions in a massive

expansion of America’s biodefense program. Communities across the country are

confronting bioweapons in their backyards.

With biological weapons, offense and defense are virtually inseparable. From

Boston to Honolulu, more than three dozen new “hot zones” have been proposed.

These labs are said to be necessary to defend the US from biological

terrorists; but the biodefense program itself is the bigger threat to peace,

health, and the environment. These labs will store and grow the world’s most

dangerous organisms and genetically engineered diseases. They will train

hundreds, perhaps thousands, in the perverted science of making

biological weapons. Few of the priority diseases pose a significant health

threat in the US. But as public health systems crumble, federal money has

been found to genetically engineer anthrax.

Secrecy at the labs threatens biological weapons control and

surrounding communities. Government agencies with atrocious records

of public accountability will finance and operate them, including the

Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security. When you mix

biotech, the military, and billions of dollars you get profound

dangers to people, the environment, and peace.

You can hear from those opposing this new military-biotech frontier at the

panel on “Backyard Bioweapons.” This Biodevastation 7 panel will bring

together activists resisting the out-of-control expansion of research on

bioweapons. Speakers will discuss�

* the US Army’s plans for Dugway Proving Ground in Utah,

* how nuclear weapons maker Lawrence Livermore National Lab wants to go


* Boston University’s big secret — a $1.6 billion lab plan for Boston’s

South End,

* the University of Texas’ monster facility in Galveston, and

* how a five pound primate may have sunk a $200 million University of

California scheme.

This major panel on biowarfare will be�

10:00 am, Saturday, May 17, 2003, “Backyard Bioweapons: Biolabs, Biodefense,

Biotech, & Billions of $”

There will be three related workshops�

2:00-3:45 pm, Friday, May 16. “Blitzing Biodiversity: Fumigation in

Colombia.” Glyphosate. Agent Green (Sunshine). A bit on other countries,

especially Afghanistan.

1:45-3:30 pm, Saturday, May 17. “Biotech Superbugs: Genetically Engineering

Diseases.” Areas where genetic engineering and the Pentagon collide. The

science in biodefense labs — from biotech superbugs to the bleeding edge

science of RNA interference.

3:45-5:30 pm, Saturday, May 17. “Confronting the Biolabs: Grassroots

Organizing and Coalition-Building.” A participatory sharing and cooperation

session, with a success story of how Davis, CA activists booted the

University of California’s biodefense lab out of the city and are working to

stop it altogether.

Confirmed speakers for the biowarfare panel and workshops at Biodevastation 7


Edward Hammond is the Director of the Sunshine Project in Austin, an

international non-governmental organization dedicated to preventing

development and use of biological weapons and, in particular, the application

of biotechnology to hostile uses.

Steve Erickson, Director of the Citizens Education Project in Salt Lake City,

has been peace and social justice advocate and lobbyist for over two

decades, and is the leading watchdog and critic of the U.S. Army Dugway

Proving Ground.

Inga Olson, Program Analyst for Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a

Radioactive Environment) in Livermore CA, has been active in the

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245 and the peace,

anti-nuclear, women’s, environmental, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender


Joshua English is with Stop the UCD Biolab Now! and lives a short bike ride

from the proposed Biosafety Level 4 facility at the University of California

at Davis.

Biodevastation 7 also includes the following panel discussions:

10:00 am, Friday, May 16. “The International Threat to Farms and Farmers”

7:00 pm, Friday, May 16. “Globalization and Food Imperialism”

7:30 pm, Saturday, May 17. “Environmental Racism”

10:00 am, Sunday, May 18. “Crop Contamination and the Future of Indigenous


On the afternoon of Sunday, May 18 there will be an anti-globalization

convergence at the World Agricultural Forum. or